Upper Tribunal: Tanveer Ahmed remains good law

QC (verification of documents; Mibanga duty) [2021] UKUT 33 (IAC) (12 January 2021)

In a panel consisting of President Lane and Vice President Ockelton, the Upper Tribunal has held as to verification of documents that the case of Tanveer Ahmed [2002] UKIAT 00439 remains good law on the correct approach to documents adduced in immigration appeals. Moreover, as regards the duty under Francois Mibanga v SSHD [2005] EWCA Civ 367, the “Mibanga duty”, credibility is not necessarily an essential component of a successful claim to be in need of international protection. Where credibility has a role to play, its relevance to the overall outcome will vary, depending on the nature of the case. The appeal concerned two related issues. The first concerned the circumstances in which the SSHD may have an obligation to make enquiry in order to verify the authenticity and reliability of a document; and the consequences of her not doing so. The second involved the nature of the obligation on judicial fact-finders to consider the evidence before them “in the round”. QC, the appellant was a Chinese citizen born in 1979 who had arrived in the UK in February 2014. He claimed asylum in October 2018, following his arrest. But on 19 March 2019, his protection claim was refused. He advanced two discrete reasons to be in need of international protection before the FTT. His family home had been demolished in 2009 by the Chinese authorities, in order to build a new road. Him and his father were beaten when they sought to resist the acquisition of their property.  

In the FTT, he advanced two discrete reasons to be in need of international protection. He said his family home was demolished in 2009 by the Chinese authorities, in order to build a new road. Him and his father were beaten when they sought to resist the acquisition of their property. His father had a heart attack and died, after which his mother committed suicide. When he sought compensation from the authorities but was beaten by them and his collar bone broken. QC claimed he was living in another area of China in April 2010 where he was introduced to Tibetan Buddhism. He attended public events recounting the cruel treatment and injustice perpetrated by China on the Tibetan people. He said when Chinese authorities raided the premises in which he was living, they arrested his friend but he managed to hide himself. He said that the Chinese authorities were now aware that he is a Tibetan Buddhist but he said he fled China as he feared what might happen to him as a Tibetan Buddhist who supports Tibetan independence. But in his screening interview in October 2018, he did not refer to his involvement with Tibetan Buddhism or support for Tibetan independence. In his witness statement of 25 January 2019, he had stated “I am a Tibetan Buddhist” but failed to answer questions about Tibetan prayer flags, confusing a central Tibetan Buddhism method of meditation with the colours of the Tibetan flag. QC’s papers contained numerous translated documents, including an item which purported to being an arrest warrant issued in March 2014. 

First Tier Tribunal 

FTTJ Doyle determined that QC had not discharged the burden of proof to establish that he was a refugee and said that article 2 and article 3 of the ECHR were not engaged in his case and concluded that his removal would not breach his right to respect for private and family life under article 8 of the ECHR. FTTJ Doyle said that because of the inconsistent account that QC gave and because QC was unable to show a fundamental knowledge of the tenets of Tibetan Buddhism, he found that QC failed to establish that he was a Tibetan Buddhist. That finding wholly undermined QC’s claim to have concealed himself in a flat whilst his friend he was arrested. It wholly undermined his claim that he is wanted by the authorities because he is a Tibetan Buddhist. QC failed to show he had any involvement with Tibetan Buddhism and he was not involved with publicly advocating independence for Tibet. QC appealed on the following grounds (i) by misapplying the law and failing to recognise that as the SSHD had not carried out any verification checks on the 2014 arrest warrant, it was not open to her, or the FTT, to impugn such a document, (ii) the FTT has allowed the adverse credibility findings to sway the assessment of the arrest warrant, and (iii) the FTT erred by failing to be slow to draw adverse inferences from any omissions and inconsistencies arising from the screening interview. 

Tanveer Ahmed

Tanveer Ahmed (Documents unreliable and forged) Pakistan* [2002] UKIAT 00439 was the leading authority on the proper approach to documents of the kind with which the UT was concerned. 

Tanveer Ahmed concerned a citizen of Pakistan who claimed to have a fear persecution from the authorities in Pakistan because of his membership of the MQM, which he joined in 1997. He had attended rallies since 1993. In 1998 he became the general secretary of the party in his area after his brother, who held the same post before him, was killed. His father was an area controller in Karachi. His party arranged for him to leave the country. He said that the police still wanted to arrest him for the suspected murder. He produced a FIR, an arrest warrant, a letter from his MQM party and some newspaper cuttings. But the Adjudicator found that the arrest warrant and the FIR were not likely to be genuine and he had not established either a well-founded fear of persecution for a Convention reason or that his human rights would be infringed. It would be safe if he relocated to another part of the country. Collins J (President), Mr CMG Ockelton (Deputy President) and Mr PR Moulden (Vice-President) dismissed his further appeal. The following paragraphs of the decision are especially telling: 

31. It is trite immigration and asylum law that we must not judge what is or is not likely to happen in other countries by reference to our perception of what is normal within the United Kingdom. The principle applies as much to documents as to any other form of evidence. We know from experience and country information that there are countries where it is easy and often relatively inexpensive to obtain “forged” documents. Some of them are false in that they are not made by whoever purports to be the author and the information they contain is wholly or partially untrue. Some are “genuine” to the extent that they emanate from a proper source, in the proper form, on the proper paper, with the proper seals, but the information they contain is wholly or partially untrue. Examples are birth, death and marriage certificates from certain countries, which can be obtained from the proper source for a “fee”, but contain information which is wholly or partially untrue. The permutations of truth, untruth, validity and “genuineness” are enormous. At its simplest we need to differentiate between form and content; that is whether a document is properly issued by the purported author and whether the contents are true. They are separate questions. It is a dangerous oversimplification merely to ask whether a document is “forged” or even “not genuine”. It is necessary to shake off any preconception that official looking documents are genuine, based on experience of documents in the United Kingdom, and to approach them with an open mind.

As to the SSHD’s obligations in respect of such documents, in Tanveer Ahmed it was the view of the Tribunal that: 

34. It is sometimes argued before Adjudicators or the Tribunal that if the Home Office alleges that a document relied on by an individual claimant is a forgery and the Home Office fails to establish this on the balance of probabilities, or even to the higher criminal standard, then the individual claimant has established the validity and truth of the document and its contents. There is no legal justification for such an argument, which is manifestly incorrect, given that whether the document is a forgery is not the question at issue. The only question is whether the document is one upon which reliance should properly be placed.

35. In almost all cases it would be an error to concentrate on whether a document is a forgery. In most cases where forgery is alleged it will be of no great importance whether this is or is not made out to the required higher civil standard. In all cases where there is a material document it should be assessed in the same way as any other piece of evidence. A document should not be viewed in isolation. The decision maker should look at the evidence as a whole or in the round (which is the same thing).

36. There is no obligation on the Home Office to make detailed enquiries about documents produced by individual claimants. Doubtless there are cost and logistical difficulties in the light of the number of documents submitted by many asylum claimants.  In the absence of a particular reason on the facts of an individual case a decision by the Home Office not to make inquiries, produce in-country evidence relating to a particular document or scientific evidence should not give rise to any presumption in favour of an individual claimant or against the Home Office.

In Singh v Belgium (Application No. 33210/11), Sikhs who had fled Afghanistan claimed refugee status in Belgium. Their claim was rejected because they had failed to prove their Afghan nationality. On appeal, they provided new documents, comprising emails between their lawyer and a representative of the Belgium Committee for the Support of Refugees.  This committee was a partner of the UNHCR and a UNHCR representative in India had furnished, by way of attachments to the emails, attestations indicating that the petitioners had been recorded as refugees under the UNHCR mandate and one of them had requested naturalisation in India. Notwithstanding this documentation, it was held on appeal that the petitioners had failed to prove their Afghan nationality and that the documents were of no convincing value, since they were of a type that was easy to falsify and the petitioners had failed to produce the original copies of the documents. 

In Singh v Belgium the Strasbourg Court decided that, since the possible consequences for the petitioners were significant, there was an obligation on the state to show that it had been as rigorous as possible and had carried out a careful “examination” (in fact, a “review”) of the grounds of appeal. Since the documents were at the heart of the request for protection, rejecting them without checking their authenticity fell short of the careful and rigorous investigation that was expected of national authorities in order to protect individuals from treatment contrary to the ECHR (article 3), when a simple process of enquiry would have resolved conclusively whether the documents were authentic and reliable.

Further, PJ (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2014] EWCA Civ 1011 is the leading case on the nature of the SSHD’s “verification” obligations. Several matters arising from paragraphs 29 to 32 of PJ need some emphasis (i) the fact that lawyers have been involved does not mean the documents they produce are for that reason reliable, (ii) the sort of exercise required by the ECtHR in Singh v Belgium will only arise exceptionally, in terms of frequency, rather than as a legal test, and (iii) Tanveer Ahmed was clearly regarded by Fulford LJ as being compatible with Singh v Belgium

In particular, Fulford LJ stressed the point made in Tanveer Ahmed, that issues of cost and logistical difficulty, owing to the sheer number of documents submitted in asylum claims, will be a relevant consideration in determining whether, in the particular circumstances, an obligation on the respondent arises. The point made in Tanveer Ahmed that documents should not be viewed in isolation but considered in their entirety in connection with the rest of the evidence, was also approved. In Tanveer Ahmed the Tribunal had been at pains to avoid falling into the trap of assuming that the contents of the document were reliable because an official-looking document emanating from abroad may have been issued by an authority whose name appears on the document. Lane P and Ockelton VP summarised the law on this issue as follows. Tanveer Ahmed remains good law. The overarching question for the judicial fact-finder will be whether the document can be regarded as reliable. An obligation on the SSHD to take steps to verify the authenticity of the document will arise only exceptionally (in the sense of rarely). 

This will be where the document is central to the claim; can easily be authenticated; and where (as in Singh v Belgium) authentication is unlikely to leave any “live” issue as to the reliability of its contents. It is for the Tribunal to decide, in all the circumstances of the case, whether the obligation arises. If it does, the SSHD cannot challenge the authenticity of the document in the proceedings. However, that does not necessarily mean the SSHD cannot question the reliability of what the document says. In all cases, it remains the task of the judicial fact-finder to assess the document’s relevance to the claim in the light of, and by reference to, the rest of the evidence.

In AR v SSHD [2017] CSIH 52, the Inner House was concerned with an appeal from the UT against a decision to dismiss AR’s appeal against the FTT, which had dismissed his appeal against the SSHD’s decision that AR was not at real risk in Pakistan as a gay man. The FTT had before it a copy a FIR, which narrated that the father of the individual with whom AR was said to have committed an act of sodomy had reported the matter to the police. The FTT also had a newspaper article of 31 March 2003, in which the father was reported as saying that his son’s friend had taken the son from his house, sodomising him against his will. Although it was unclear, it appeared that a second “official” document before the FTT was a record of the police notifying local police stations of AR’s escape from custody. Lord Malcolm noted that “the evidence consists of the petitioner’s account, which in its essential elements is supported by a number of documents, two of them of an official nature, and all easily verifiable. To our eyes at least, they have the hallmarks of valid documents, albeit no doubt there is at least a possibility that they were fabricated, although, if they were, why would there be internal inconsistencies on points of detail?”. 

Lord Malcolm said that “we remind ourselves of the need to examine the facts with care (sometimes referred to as ‘anxious scrutiny’), and of the low standard of proof applicable in cases of this nature.” He explained that “there is no question that these documents are at the centre of a request for international protection. The decision-maker should stand back and view all of the evidence in the round before deciding which evidence to accept and which to reject, and on the proper disposal of the appeal.” 

The Mibanga duty 

In Francois Mibanga v SSHD [2005] EWCA Civ 367, the asylum claim was based on Mr Mibanga’s assertion that he had been captured in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Rwandan-backed rebels, who had tortured him. He had produced a medical report on his injuries, together with a report by a country expert. The Court of Appeal decided that the adjudicator who dismissed his appeal had disregarded both expert reports in concluding that Mr Mibanga’s case lacked credibility. The adjudicator had only turned to the reports after making that adverse credibility finding. Both reports were regarded by the Court of Appeal as detailed and impressive documents. Wilson J, who gave the first judgment, said  this during the course of his reasoning: 

24. It seems to me to be axiomatic that a fact-finder must not reach his or her conclusion before surveying all the evidence relevant thereto. Just as, if I may take a banal if alliterative example, one cannot make a cake with only one ingredient, so also frequently one cannot make a case, in the sense of establishing its truth, otherwise than by combination of a number of pieces of evidence.  

Mibanga led to many challenges to Tribunal decisions. It was of the view that there was a danger of Mibanga being misunderstood. Indeed, in HH (medical evidence; effective Mibanga) Ethiopia [2005] UKAIT 00164, unimpressed with grounds asserting that the Immigration Judge erred in law in failing to treat the medical report as part of the overall evidence to be considered “in the round” before arriving at a conclusion on the appellant’s credibility, the Tribunal said that the Mibanga duty is not intended to place judicial fact-finders in a form of forensic straightjacket. In particular, the Court of Appeal was not to be regarded as laying down any rule of law as to the order in which judicial fact-finders are to approach the evidential materials before them. Further, in S v SSHD [2006] EWCA Civ 1153, in a similar situation, the Court of Appeal emphasised the exceptional nature of the factual matrix in Mibanga. Distinguishing the striking facts in Mibanga, the Court of Appeal (Rix LJ) approved the observation in HH regarding the danger of Mibanga being misunderstood.

In TF v SSHD [2018] CSIH 58, the Inner House was concerned with appeals by Iranian asylum seekers, who feared persecution if returned to Iran, by reason of their conversion in Scotland to Christianity. Evidence was adduced from members of a particular church, testifying to the genuineness, in the eyes of the witnesses, of the religious conversions.  The appellants were unsuccessful in the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal. Lord Glennie said that it was, to some extent, justified for the First-tier Tribunal to treat with scepticism the views of third parties as to the genuineness of the conversion of an asylum seeker to Christianity. But there were “limits to this approach”. Just as juries in criminal trials are commonly directed that the fact a person may have lied about one point does not necessarily mean he is lying about other matters, “The same words of caution should be taken to heart by tribunal judges hearing evidence in immigration and asylum appeals.  People have different reasons for not telling the truth, or the whole truth, about particular matters”. They may, for example, be anxious not to get others into trouble. Nor was it necessarily suggestive of dishonesty to fail to give every detail on the first occasion they were asked about it, but only to come out with the full story on a second or subsequent occasion. Lord Glennie also stressed that the appellant’s case “has to be considered in the round, not only on the basis of the appellant’s own evidence, which may or may not be accepted as credible, but also on the basis of other evidence that may be available”

The Court of Appeal considered the Mibanga line of cases in MN v SSHD [2020] EWCA Civ 1746, discussed here, and at para 108 of its judgment, the court held that the basic principle established by Mibanga was summarised in AM (Afghanistan) v SSHD [2017] EWCA Civ 1123, when Sir Ernest Ryder said that “It is an error of approach to come to a negative assessment of credibility and then ask whether that assessment is displaced by other material”. It is often the case that a person’s claim for international protection turns on whether or not that person is adjudged to be credible. Credibility, President Lane and Vice President Ockelton stated, is not necessarily an essential component of a successful claim. On the contrary, as Simon Brown LJ judged in R (Ravichandran) v SSHD [1995] EWCA Civ 16 that the key question whether a person is at risk of persecution ought to be looked at in the round and all the relevant circumstances brought into account. He knew of no authority inconsistent with such an approach and stated it clearly accords both with paragraph 51 of the UNHCR handbook and with the spirit of the Convention. 

It was said by President Lane and Vice President Ockelton that in some cases, credibility will have no role to play in the Ravichandran exercise; for e.g., a person may have told lies about everything involving their past life in a particular country and yet be entitled to international protection because there is evidence that shows there is a real risk of serious harm if the person is returned; for e.g., because the authorities of that country persecute all returnees from abroad who have sought international protection. They said:

55. An example of the protean nature of credibility as a determinant of entitlement to international protection can be seen from TF. The evidence of the church witnesses, who deposed to the genuineness of the appellants’ conversions, went to the issue of whether the appellants had genuinely converted. Had their cases been that they would be perceived as apostates and persecuted for having undergone baptism or some other form of initiation, whether or not they intended to behave as Christians in Iran, the evidence of the church witnesses would have assumed a very different significance.

56. The relevance of an individual’s credibility to their particular claim accordingly needs to be established with some care by the judicial fact-finder. It is only once this is done that the practical application of the Mibanga duty can be understood. The significance of a piece of evidence that emanates or purports to emanate from a third party source may well depend upon what is at stake in terms of the individual’s credibility.

The UT elucidated that an arrest warrant from Afghanistan stating that an individual was arrested on 1 April 2020 in Afghanistan may not advance that individual’s claim if there is reliable evidence on EURODAC that the said person was fingerprinted whilst in detention in Germany on the same date. In such a scenario, the judge still has a duty to explain why (assuming he or she so finds) the arrest warrant does not assist the individual’s case. But the reasons are likely to be relatively straightforward. Without EURODAC evidence the requirement of what will constitute legally adequate reasons for rejecting the individual’s claim may well be more onerous. President Lane and Vice President Ockelton concluded that: 

57. To sum up, the judicial fact-finder has a duty to make his or her decision by reference to all the relevant evidence and needs to show in their decision that they have done so.  The actual way in which the fact-finder goes about this task is a matter for them.  As has been pointed out, one has to start somewhere. At the end of the day, what matters is whether the decision contains legally adequate reasons for the outcome.  

They stressed that the greater the apparent cogency and relevance of a particular piece of evidence, the greater is the need for the judicial fact-finder to show that they have had due regard to that evidence. If the fact-finder’s overall conclusion is contrary to the apparent thrust of that evidence, then the greater is the need to explain why that evidence has not brought about a different outcome.

The Upper Tribunal

The first ground of challenge to FTTJ Doyle’s decision proceeded on the assumption that, on the facts of this case, the SSHD had an obligation to carry out verification of the arrest warrant. It was not open to the SSHD or FTTJ Doyle “to impugn such a document”. The arrest warrant was central to the claim and it was not said it was not easily verifiable and he “erred where the respondent had failed to consider routes which the document could be verified”. During his asylum interview, QC made no reference to an arrest warrant in his name in China. When asked at Q 151 why the Chinese authorities would still be interested in him after several years, he replied that they were interested in arresting those persons who support Tibet’s independence. QC added he had friends who went back to China and he had asked them to find out what had happened back home. They had confirmed that he was still wanted there. However, QC had not given the SSHD a copy of the arrest warrant at the time the refusal was written and it had also not accompanied QC’s notice of appeal against the refusal. The arrest warrant was provided to the FTT only the day before the hearing translated into English. 

After describing QC as a suspect in the activities of Tibetan separatist organisations and attendance at illegal gatherings, the warrant requested all local public security authorities to take all possible measures to search for the “suspect” after receiving this warrant. The public was urged to call the police “on 110” to report; and the bureau offered a high-value reward to anyone who provided useful information or who captured the suspect and sent him to the local public security authority. 

President Lane and Vice President Ockelton decided that QC derived no assistance from the judgments in PJ or AR and like the FTT the HOPO would have seen the arrest warrant and its translation only on the very day of the hearing. The submission on behalf of QC that the duty of verification arose nonetheless, i.e. that the HOPO would have to seek an adjournment, in order for attempts at verification to take place, or he would be precluded from challenging the authenticity of the document before the FTT, was rejected by the UT which said that where the verification duty is a live issue, the timing of the production of the document is, plainly, one of the fact-sensitive matters to which regard must be had in deciding, in all the circumstances, whether the duty arises on the facts of the case. 

President Lane and Vice President Ockelton stated that the arrest warrant document was very far from having the attributes as being needed to make the verification duty a live issue. They said that leaving aside its very late production, the fundamental reason why the duty did not arise in respect of the arrest warrant was that it was an example of the kind of document encountered by FTT judges on a daily basis in protection appeals and they reasoned that:

63. If every document of this kind were required to be verified by the respondent, the appellate process would be severely impaired.

That accorded with what the Tribunal said at paragraph 36 of Tanveer Ahmed and what Fulford LJ said at paragraph 29 of PJ and the two presidents said that “such an exercise would be entirely disproportionate” and so QC’s first ground of appeal – as regards the SSHD’s obligation to carry out verification of the arrest warrant – failed. 

The second ground, that FTTJ Doyle allowed his adverse credibility findings to sway the assessment made of the arrest warrant, was best approached in the light of the caselaw in question (rather than just TF) regarding the treatment of evidence “in the round”. In TF the approach of Lord Glennie was much more nuanced than QC appeared to argue and it was the case that the court identified the need for caution before deciding that, because a person may have lied about one point, that meant that he must be lying about some other matters. FTTJ Doyle’s decision did not take this approach to the arrest warrant. He did not treat it as another example of QC giving deceitful evidence. He concluded that the arrest warrant was neutral in its significance which was very different from the mischief which Lord Glennie sought to identify in TF. The present case was one where concerns over the veracity of a claimant’s account may be so clear-cut and decisive that the decision-maker is driven to a rejection of supporting documents. This was in line with paragraph 35 of AR and QC asserted that he was a Tibetan Buddhist but had shown ignorance of the tenets of that faith, as was clear from the Asylum Interview Record. He said that he prayed to “the flag” because “here there is no Buddhism” and this was destructive of his asylum case as a Tibetan Buddhist and FTTJ Doyle was perfectly entitled to treat it as such.

The third ground, that FTTJ Doyle erred by failing to be slow to draw adverse inferences from the admissions and inconsistencies arising from the screening interview, was also not made out. FTTJ Doyle observed that in his screening interview QC said nothing about his belief in Tibetan Buddhism or support for Tibetan independence. Indeed, while it was possible to construe the written answer “just with Balai organisation” as a misprint for the Dalai Lama, it was nevertheless correct that QC did not mention Tibetan Buddhism or Tibet at his screening interview. President Lane and Vice President Ockelton said this:

70. It is trite that a person claiming international protection is not expected in his screening interview to set out every detail of his claim.  What might be reasonably expected to be found in a person’s answers at an asylum screening interview will depend on the facts of the particular case.  A person who volunteers themselves to the respondent, in order to make a claim for asylum, after having lived in the United Kingdom for a significant period of time, might, as a general matter, be expected to provide somewhat more detail than, say, a person who is screened immediately after an arduous journey to this country, concealed in the back of a lorry.

In the present case, QC had been in the UK for years before his arrest in connection with immigration matters and only then claimed asylum. Notwithstanding that he was claiming following his arrest over the timing of which he had no control, the President and the Vice President nevertheless thought that FTTJ Doyle had been entitled to have some regard to the fact that Tibet and Tibetan issues did not feature in QC’s reasons for claiming asylum.

Overall, reading FTTJ Doyle’s decision as a whole made it very clear that the basis for his adverse credibility findings was connected to the detailed asylum interview, and not to the screening interview. It was in that interview that QC made the assertion that there was no Buddhism in the country in which he was claiming asylum. His appeal was dismissed as FTTJ Doyle’s determination did not contain an error on a point of law.

Headnote

President Lane and Vice President Ockelton’s decision came with the following headnote:

Verification of documents

(1) The decision of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal in Tanveer Ahmed [2002] UKIAT 00439 remains good law as regards the correct approach to documents adduced in immigration appeals. The overarching question for the judicial fact-finder will be whether the document in question can be regarded as reliable.  An obligation on the respondent to take steps to verify the authenticity of the document relied on by an appellant will arise only exceptionally (in the sense of rarely).  This will be where the document is central to the claim; can easily be authenticated; and where (as in Singh v Belgium (Application No. 33210/11)), authentication is unlikely to leave any “live” issue as to the reliability of its contents. It is for the tribunal to decide, in all the circumstances of the case, whether the obligation arises. If the respondent does not fulfil the obligation, the respondent cannot challenge the authenticity of the document in the proceedings; but that does not necessarily mean the respondent cannot question the reliability of what the document says. In all cases, it remains the task of the judicial fact-finder to assess the document’s relevance to the claim in the light of, and by reference to, the rest of the evidence.

The Mibanga duty

(2) Credibility is not necessarily an essential component of a successful claim to be in need of international protection. Where credibility has a role to play, its relevance to the overall outcome will vary, depending on the nature of the case. What that relevance is to a particular claim needs to be established with some care by the judicial fact-finder. It is only once this is done that the practical application of the “Mibanga duty” to consider credibility “in the round” can be understood (Francois Mibanga v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2005] EWCA Civ 367). The significance of a piece of evidence that emanates from a third party source may well depend upon what is at stake in terms of the individual’s credibility.

(3) What the case law reveals is that the judicial fact-finder has a duty to make his or her decision by reference to all the relevant evidence and needs to show in their decision that they have done so. The actual way in which the fact-finder goes about this task is a matter for them. As has been pointed out, one has to start somewhere. At the end of the day, what matters is whether the decision contains legally adequate reasons for the outcome. The greater the apparent cogency and relevance of a particular piece of evidence, the greater is the need for the judicial fact-finder to show that they have had due regard to that evidence; and, if the fact-finder’s overall conclusion is contrary to the apparent thrust of that evidence, the greater is the need to explain why that evidence has not brought about a different outcome.

Comment

A key practical takeaway from this case is that all the papers should be served early and it did not help QC that he had not given the SSHD a copy of the arrest warrant in advance, he had not provided it in his notice of appeal against the refusal and had provided it to the FTT only the day before the hearing. To expect the SSHD to verify it at a late stage would have the effect of severely impairing the appellate process.

This point highlights that good timing is quite crucial in immigration and asylum cases and appeals and judges are quite unhappy with the lack of timeliness in the delivery of documents. The genuineness of the documents in any case is very important and this case is a reminder that Wilson J’s point about the fact-finder not making a cake with only one ingredient is subject to very serious limitations. 

About Asad Ali Khan, BA, MSc, MA, LL.B (Hons), LL.M

Senior Partner, Khan & Co, Barristers-at-Law
This entry was posted in Adjournment, Appeals, Article 3, Asylum, China, Court of Appeal, Credibility, ECtHR, Mibanga Duty, Pakistan, Politics, Refugee Convention, Tibetan Buddhism, Tribunals and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.